Editor’s note: I’ve always wanted to write an editor’s note, but don’t particularly enjoy editing, and certainly am not particularly skilled in the department. However, now that I have cross-posted a blog written by my wife Daniella Ponet, I jumped at the chance to insert an editor’s note. Daniella wrote the post below after we got back from the book tour, which I actually haven’t edited in the slightest. Daniella, for followers of the blog but not personal friends, is my first editor, and is the person who pulled together the book trailer (which we were excited to learn will be featured on BBC World News…will post once I have an air date).
GUEST POST by Daniella
We returned last week from a whirlwind west coast book tour. Here are some lessons and reflections on the journey:
1. Twelve cities in fourteen days qualifies as overbooking!
2. Driving nine hours in any one day with book event in between qualifies as poor planning! And learned that book events and long drives are not always the best combo.
3. Motel continental breakfasts now almost routinely include make your own waffles. I can safely say that any waffle craving I had at earlier moments of this pregnancy are well taken care of and I can easily go to term and probably for a full year without eating a waffle. (Editors note: Daniella is pregnant and gradually taking on the shape of a barrel cactus.)
4. The people who ask the most questions are universally the least likely to purchase a book.
5. There is no rhyme or reason to turn out, book sales or responsiveness of a crowd. Making predictions is fun to show how off we are almost every time.
6. How many people in the world, let alone authors, can say that Yuma was a highlight?
7. The saddest moment of the book tour was stopping in Dateland, Arizona. Dateland was once my favorite town in Arizona, the place that grows the most dates of any place in the US and is world-famous for dateshakes–a brilliant invention that combines ice cream and dates, any better combo ever?–has been torn down and replaced by a Quiznos and a Quickiemart gift shop. Quiznos now sells date shakes that take about fifteen seconds to make. The diner is gone, the 1950’s date gift shop is gone, and one more piece of quintessential Americana is gone forever. It was a devastating stop that allowed us to get to our destination quicker than planned because I was far too distraught to hang out.
8. Got to catch up with wonderful friends in LA, Bay Area, Portland and Seattle.
9. Realized that Tucson is the only place we have ever spent two months in without making a single friend – as exemplified by our crowd of five people at the U of A book event, far and away the worst turnout on the tour! And we managed to be in Tucson for the first rainy day in six weeks, and by rain in Tucson I mean torrential downpours for eight hours straight.
10. It was so fun to meet members of the lettuce crew and hear their memories from the 2008 season. Almost every one of their memories is in the book which I really hope comes out in Spanish soon so they can read it!
11. Who knew we knew so many people in Portland?
12. Gabriel walked to the studio to do the Tavis Smiley interview; they told him no guest had EVER walked to the studio for an appearance – got to love LA!
13. Visiting LA on a beautiful clear day right after a rain storm offers the best views ever!
14. Fun to visit so many independent bookstores on the west coast, though somehow we never had enough time to ever browse or buy any books – in fact I probably read less in those two weeks than on any trip I have ever been on, except for a CISPES delegation. . .
(Editor’s note: CISPES stands for the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador–more info about the great organization here)
15. My favorite question that Gabriel had to answer: Day five after two stressful media events, five bookstores, and driving from Arizona to LA and south, and a good 90 minutes into the event (ie 90 min. straight of Gabriel talking), the following question comes from a senior in the crowd who has been dozing on and off for the whole talk: “What was in your heart when you decided to write this book?” And the brilliant answer: “I have a terrible memory, I don’t really remember what was in my heart.”
16. Knowing when to cut off a Q and A is an art form that many moderators do not possess!
17. Learned that hardcore Maoists still exist and they like to share their views.
18. I really like our bed!